European officials failed to reach a decision on whether travellers to Europe from Russia, the U.S, Brazil and Qatar will be barred from entry even after the bloc's external borders open on July 1.
An EU diplomat told Euronews on Thursday that officials "could not reach an agreement" and that talks would continue into Friday "at the ambassadorial level."
Officials have been drawing up lists detailing which countries whose travellers the bloc could allow in -- and those who will still be refused entry -- when the EU's external borders are reopened on July 1.
Other countries to be excluded according to a draft list include Russia, Brazil and Qatar.
When the European Commission published recommendations to EU member states earlier in June on non-essential travel to the bloc, officials said the list should take into account the infection rate in countries concerned.
The criteria are based on the "epidemiological situation and the response to COVID-19 in the third country", the Commission said in a communique to other EU institutions.
"Travel restrictions should not be lifted as regards third countries where the situation is worse as the average in the EU+ area," said the advice.
Some 47 countries are on the draft list of acceptable countries; travellers from 54 nations are likely still to be barred from the bloc, a source outlined.
The United States is on the second list of "unacceptable" countries, the source told Euronews on Wednesday, confirming a story in the New York Times, which said that according to draft lists it had seen, EU countries were preparing to block travellers from places where the pandemic has not been controlled.
The US has had more than 120,000 COVID-19 deaths and over 2.3 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University, with new surges of infections reported in several US states.
Brazil, also on the draft list of countries whose travellers stand to continue being refused EU entry, confirmed more than 39,000 new cases in a single day on Tuesday. Its death toll has now topped 52,600.
Russia, another nation on the list of countries likely to be refused entry, is still recording thousands of new COVID-19 cases every day and has reported over 600,000 in all.